Saturday, June 22, 2013

It takes two to tango.... violence in a relationship

Nothing happens in a vacuum when it comes to  marriage or de-facto relationships whether they are between a man and a woman or two men or two women and each person plays a part in how that relationship develops and what it becomes.

In terms of domestic violence, and there are of course instances where women are the abusers although the general thrust of protest is usually pointed at men, the questions which rarely seem to be asked are: What is it about the person which draws them into relationship with someone abusive or someone who becomes abusive in relationship with them and what is it about the person which keeps them there for years, sometimes decades?

Without answering those two questions the 'victim' will just move from one abusive relationship to another because 'violence' is never simply the fault of one person.

As a very simplistic story, and yes, it is simplistic and life generally isn't, but there is a core of profound truth which it relates:

A mother says to her daughter when she marries - if he hits you, then come home immediately. If you let him hit you twice then don't bother because you are a part of the problem.

Such a view is not politically correct in this age of black and white where men are made out to be violent demons and women the helpless innocents and there is no doubt in patriarchal, Third World cultures it is not possible for women to leave. But, in the First World, the developed world, anyone who stays around to be hit the second time has made a choice and accepted violence as a part of the relationship, because there are choices, there are options, there is help and there are places to go.

And no, it isn't easy, it isn't simple but a violent relationship between people is something which has been 'created' by the two of them and can only be maintained as long as both parties agree to do so. The agreement may not be conscious but it will be present and that makes both responsible and accountable for what happens.


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